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World Cup roundup: Poland shut out by Colombia; England routs Panama

Poland's Robert Lewandowski, left, and Colombia's Radamel Falcao, right, challenge for the ball during the group H match between Poland and Colombia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, Sunday, June 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) ORG XMIT: XFP117

Colombia 3, Poland 0

KAZAN, Russia — Radamel Falcao’s first World Cup goal led Colombia to a 3-0 victory over Poland on Sunday and kept the team in the running for a spot in the knockout round.

Falcao had been expected to lead the team at the last World Cup in Brazil, but he injured his knee ahead of the tournament and missed Colombia’s run to the quarterfinals.

Healthy again, the Monaco striker scored with the outside of his foot in the 70th minute after a superb pass from playmaker Juan Quintero in the back of the defense.

Poland, which has two losses, was eliminated.

Yerry Mina scored the first goal in the 40th and Juan Cuadrado completed the win in the 75th.

Both teams lost their Group H openers and knew another loss would end their hopes of advancing. Colombia will next face Senegal on Thursday in Samara with a chance to win the group, while Poland will play Japan in Volgograd.

Senegal and Japan drew 2-2 earlier Sunday and lead the group with four points each.

Mina out-jumped the Poland defense to head in the opening goal from James Rodriguez’s cross, rewarding a spell of domination by the Colombians.

Rodriguez’s through ball after Poland lost possession in midfield led to the final goal. Cuadrado collected the pass and rushed toward the box, timing his shot perfectly to beat goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Poland got off to an aggressive start in the hot and humid Tatarstan capital, pressing high and winning most of the duels in the opening minutes.

Colombia gradually settled in, though, with Quintero providing attacking width and Cuadrado proving dangerous with his subtle moves on the edge of the box.

Colombia slowed the pace in the second half, showing good counterattacking qualities. Quintero came close in the 56th minute on the break, but his goal-bound shot took a deflection.

Cut off from the rest of his teammates, Robert Lewandowski had a few attempts but could not convert his rare chances.

Japan 2, Senegal 2

YEKATERINBURG, Russia — Keisuke Honda sat on the bench for 72 minutes, knowing a goal would make him the first Japanese player to score at three World Cups.

Six minutes later, it was a done deal.

The former AC Milan forward scored in the 78th minute, knocking the ball past two defenders standing on the goal line, to give Japan a 2-2 draw with Senegal on Sunday at the World Cup.

The 32-year-old Honda also scored at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. He has 37 international goals in his career.

“I believe I used substitutions very well in looking back,” said Japan coach Akira Nishino, who took over shortly before the tournament started. “Honda was moved from center to the wide side and he was very versatile at adapting to that position.

“We really wanted to win, we wanted to equalize and also take the lead even though there was only a short period of time left.”

The draw keeps both teams at the top of Group H ahead of their final matches. Japan will next face Poland in Volgograd on Thursday while Senegal faces Colombia in Samara.

Sadio Mane gave Senegal the lead in the 11th minute with his first World Cup goal.

The Liverpool forward tapped the ball into the net after goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima was unable to control a shot from Youssouf Sabaly.

“The ball touched my foot and went into the net,” Mane said. “It was really just the foot on the ball.”

Japan struck back in the 34th minute when Takashi Inui scored with Japan’s first shot on goal, but Moussa Wague restored the lead with a shot high into the net in the 71st.

A minute later, Nishino sent on Honda and striker Shinji Okazaki.

Senegal outshot Japan 14-7 and had five shots on target. Japan had only two.

“Frankly speaking, I think we are a bit disappointed,” Mane said. And that’s normal because there was a way to win this match.”

Aliou Cisse, the coach of Senegal and the captain of the 2002 team that reached the quarterfinals, said his team needs to be more aggressive.

“We need to have more concentration and be more rigorous,” Cisse said. “We didn’t lose today. We didn’t play a great game, but we didn’t lose.”

England 6, Panama 1

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia — With two penalties and an accidental deflection, Harry Kane moved ahead of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo and put England into the round of 16 at the World Cup.

Kane scored half of England’s goals Sunday in a 6-1 rout of Panama, the national team’s largest-ever margin of victory at the World Cup.

“The third one is probably one of the luckiest ones of my career,” said Kane, who took the game ball to the locker room. “Sometimes you go through spells where you are scoring and sometimes it doesn’t fall for you.

“Not many players get to score a hat trick in a World Cup.”

Kane has scored a tournament-leading five goals at the World Cup in Russia, one more than Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku. He also has 18 for England’s national team, one more than Beckham.

Not since the 4-2 victory over Germany in the 1966 final has England scored as many goals at the World Cup.

The ruthlessness of the display in the sweltering heat of Nizhny Novgorod showed just how far England has been transformed in the four years since an older, more experienced squad couldn’t even manage a win when it exited the World Cup in the group stage.

In 2014, England complained about the heat in Brazil — particularly the humidity of the Amazonian jungle in the team’s opening loss to Italy.

Kane scored two in the opening 2-1 victory over Tunisia, including a header in injury time.

“The other day we had to go right to the wire and show qualities that were going to be extremely important,” England coach Gareth Southgate said. “The only downside was the goal at the end because we talked at halftime about the importance of controlling the group with our goal difference. We missed out on that opportunity but it would be harsh to criticize the players after a day like that, in the heat as well, so we must enjoy the win.”

Now England is sure of a spot in the round of 16 with a game to spare in Group G. Panama, which offered little resistance, is leaving the tournament early after being eliminated along with Tunisia.

Sterner tests await, starting with the Thursday’s game against Belgium. England and Belgium are level on points and goal difference and will play for first place in the group.

England showed it wasn’t only reliant on Kane, who couldn’t find the net at the 2016 European Championship. John Stones headed in two goals and Jesse Lingard curled in another.

In Russia, England has been trying to cast aside the negativity of the past while remolding the image of the team on and off the field. Even locals were supporting the team in Nizhny Novgorod, despite the bitter diplomatic relations between Russia and Britain.

The egos who dominated in England’s celebrity-obsessed, underperforming Golden Generation in the first decade of century have gone. The joy and togetherness in the squad — the second-youngest in Russia — becomes clear in the goal celebrations.

Where past England teams might have wilted in warm temperatures, this one pressed with high-tempo intensity to ensure there was no need to scrape a victory like on Monday against Tunisia.

England picked up where it left off in Volgograd, with a corner from Kieran Trippier headed into the net in the eighth minute. It wasn’t Kane on the end this time but Stones, who was left unmarked to score his first international goal.

Kane didn’t have to wait long to add to his tally, converting from the penalty spot in the 22nd after Lingard was brought down by Fidel Escobar.

Lingard did get on the scoresheet in the 36th with the pick of the goals. The Manchester United forward played a 1-2 with Ashley Young and exchanged passes with Raheem Sterling before shifting the ball across and bending it into the top corner.

The fourth goal was the culmination of a well-worked free kick with Sterling’s close-range header parried by goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Stones was primed to follow-up, giving the defender his second.

However much they tried, Panama struggled to block England’s route to goal. Anibal Gody resorted to trying to wrestle Kane to the ground, only to concede a penalty that was converted by the Tottenham striker.

England was merciless. At 5-0, the job was complete by halftime.

“I said ‘Look, I am starting to feel scared. We can’t actually try to equalize. We can’t even reduce this distance. All we can do is try to stop England so they can’t score more goals,’” Panama coach Hernan Gomez said. “We were feeling rather frightened.”

Chasing the golden boot, Kane relied on his heel to complete his hat trick by getting the faintest of touches to divert Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot into the net. England completed 25 passes in the buildup, the most in any World Cup match since 1966, according to Opta.

England could afford to ease up and preserve energy but it cost the team first place on goal difference. Felipe Baloy slid to meet Ricardo Avila’s free kick and score Panama’s first World Cup goal.

Panama, beaten by Belgium 3-0 in the opening game, finally had something to celebrate, albeit briefly.

“When you are a debutante in a World Cup … the first goal is even more enjoyable,” Gomez said. “The result itself, I think the difference of goals could have been more. We could have conceded more goals.”